Residents in Scotland’s first ever conservation village have slammed a decision to demolish a historic building.
The group claim that plans to replace The Cross Garage in Eaglesham with a new restaurant will bring unwanted traffic and damage the look of the area.
East Renfrewshire’s planning chiefs approved the proposals, which will see a two-storey eatery built for award-winning chef Marco Sarao.
But construction workers could now face a fight after it was revealed they’ll need access to neighbouring gardens to demolish the existing building.
One of those neighbours, Willie Wallace, has voiced his anger after objecting to the plans.
He said: “They’ve got no interest in the fact that builders will have to enter my property to demolish the building. We’ve been told that’s between us and the developer.
“It forces people into a legal system and it becomes about whoever has the most money.
“It’s an iconic part of the village and when people take pictures or think of the conservation area in Eaglesham this building is always in there.
“The fact that we don’t want a restaurant outside our homes isn’t the point. This is the first conservation area in Scotland and the centre of that village will be ridden roughshod over.”
Mr Wallace also insisted that bin collections, deliveries and customer parking would make the area congested.
Anne Ritchie, whose home looks on to the garage, said that the proposed glass frontage of the restaurant is not in character with the area.
She added: “The most distressing bit is the way this has gone through.
“I’ve never seen anything quite so appalling in terms of the quality of discussion, the quality of detail and the decision making. And the fact is there were two councillors, Betty Cunningham and Jim McLean, missing absolutely stinks.”
Having originally been used as a horse and cart garage and more recently for car repairs, the building, occupied by Wardle and Sons will close this year due to the retirement of owner Alan Wardle.
Gary Smith, the owner of The Swan Inn, now owns the garage site and in a statement to the planning applications committee, his agent Jewitt and Wilkie claimed the restaurant will “serve local needs”.
Councillors voted by 3-2 in favour of approving the application, despite concerns being raised by Conservative Group leader Stewart Miller.
He said: “If we start knocking things down in a conservation area then what is the point in having a conservation area?”
After being told that the council’s roads department didn’t raise any concerns about parking, Provost Jim Fletcher said: “The reality is the vast majority of supermarkets or retail businesses that open don’t have parking. There has been a number of restaurants opening in Giffnock, none of which have associated parking.”
Eaglesham’s buildings were laid out on the orders of the Earl of Eglinton, a landowner in the area. But the village history extends back to French knight Roger de Montgomery, who came to the UK in 1068 following William the Conqueror’s victory at Hastings.
In 1968 the village became the first conservation area in Scotland after the Civic Amenities Act was passed the year before.
East Renfrewshire has five conservation areas including in Giffnock, Lower Whitecraigs and Upper Whitecraigs.